Approval of athletic building, improvements at Homestead

Plans to install a turf football field and construct a building with team rooms, restrooms and concessions at Homestead High School received quick, unanimous approval from Mequon’s Planning Commission April 13.

The first planned phase of improvements to outdoor athletic facilities at the high school is expected to be completed by this fall. In addition to the turf and the 48,000-square-foot building, the initial phase also includes relocating some track-and-field areas to accommodate the building, which will be built on the north end of the football field so it also can serve the existing soccer stadium.

Funds for the so-called Highlander Strong project have been raised privately. The first phase will cost approximately $1.5 million. Most visible among initial donors is a $250,000 contribution from Sommer’s Automotive designated to pay for half the cost of the building, which will be named the Sommer’s Subaru Pavilion.

“I’m very happy to see that this all came from private funding and it happened quickly,” said Rob Strzelczyk, a Common Council member who also serves on the Planning Commission.

Commissioners also briefly discussed the proposed second phase ofthe project, which will occur after the money is raised to pay for it. That phase will include a synthetic softball field, expanding seating capacity on both the home and visitors sides ofthe football stadium, improvements to tennis courts, adding some paved paths and installing an entryway feature for the outdoor facilities.

Jac Zader, the city’s assistant director of community development, said he heard some concerns from residents who believe that expanding seating capacity will increase traffic and tighten parking.

Zader said, except in rare instances, that the seating expansions are more likely to be “accommodating existing patrons” who already are coming to the games and standing.

More information on contributing to the Highlander Strong campaign is available at www.highlanderstrong.info or by contacting Jennifer Zoeller, the booster club president, at 853-5151.

Source: News Graphic by Gary Achterberg

Uncategorized

Highlander Estates Subdivision Approved

The 111-home development received approval of the Mequon Planning Commission for the site plan. The proposed development from Pewaukee-based Neumann Companies intends to name the subdivision Highlander Estates recognizing the previous owner of this property, Mequon-Thiensville School District.

Uncategorized

Discussions on Governor’s Budget

The current budget proposal from Governor Walker contains cuts in categorical aid and phasing out of the parental choice program called Chapter 220.

The cut in categorical aid is $150 per pupil, or $520,000 for Mequon-Thiensville School District. In addition, the current plan does not increase the revenue cap which determines the local support of operational expenses.

Chapter 220 has served as a way to support desegregation and limit the burden on local residents. Elimination of this program would reduce funding to MTSD by $800,000 while raising the local tax levy by $0.05/$1,000, or $15.00 for a house with an assessed value of $300,000.

A copy of the letter from Dr. Desmond Means, Superintendent of MTSD, to the school district families and community can be found here.

A special meeting of the school board was held last Monday where State Senator Alberta Darling and State Representatives Jim Ott and Dan Knodl attended. While support was given by the three legislators, there still remains concerns on the ability to find the necessary revenue to not make this cut in categorical aid. Additional information about the meeting can be found here.

Please take the opportunity to contact your local legislator and remind them about the importance of supporting the current funding level of public education that makes not only Mequon and Thiensville a great community, but Wisconsin a great state, for public education.

State Senator Alberta Darling, email

State Representative Jim Ott, email

State Representative Dan Knodl, email

Uncategorized

New terms for School Board members

At this past Monday’s Mequon-Thiensville School Board meeting incumbent Stephanie Clark and new members Jon Jacobs and Cindy Werner took their oath of office.

Uncategorized

How would you consider your term on the council a success?

Myers:

By being a fully engaged, collaborative member of the Common Council sharing my legal and analytical skills so the best decisions are made and the direction of the city is forward.
If the residents of District 8 told me that I was accessible and have keep them well informed.

Adams: The same way I have counted out the last 7 terms a success: I keep living here with my family and my neighbors and friends. I keep walking every morning down my quiet and clean and safe streets. I say hi to my friends walking their dogs and their children. I proudly point to our safety record. I am full of praise for our great schools. I see Eagles flying over head. I know we have a blessed life here and want to keep it that way. In three more years I will be saying much the same thing.

Uncategorized

How can the Council make life better for the citizens of Mequon?

Adams: One of my campaign themes has been unity in community. We’re creating more cultural activities to draw people to Mequon, and encouraging more participation and involvement within the community. I have always been a strong supporter of family friendly amenities. Some examples are pretty simple, like making road speeds safer for pedestrians, strollers, walkers, joggers, and for the safety of children and our family pets. While this may seem petty to some, we need to attract young people and be aware of their needs.

The Common Council can maintain the path I have been part of for the last 21 years. We are now on top. It is fabulous here. We love Mequon and we do not need to go creating scare tactics that will have changes which will make Mequon look like Bluemound Rd. Their taxes in Brookfield are higher because of that, not lower. Their schools are not better because of that.

Myers:

Allow residential development which provides reasonably priced, but high quality houses and apartments.
Allow commercial development which it not overly intense and yet serves the needs of our community.
Consider building the types of recreational facilities which are becoming common around the country for cities such as ours. This will allow for both exercise and recreation.

Uncategorized

A follow-up question. Mequon is a diverse city. What do you feel is the best approach to maintain the right balance for the community?

Myers: The student population of our public schools demonstrates that our community is diverse. The number of non-English first languages spoken by the students is significant. This reflects that the quality of the schools in this community attracts families of diverse racial, ethnic and national backgrounds to our community. I am comfortable with our diversity and support it. We should continue what has worked which is to provide a variety of housing choices and support our public schools.

Adams: People come to Mequon for many diverse reasons, and we continue to support our unique features for coming here in the first place: low taxes, great schools, green areas, great golf courses, wonderful biking trails, a talented work force, room to build a business and grow. By having many great reasons to come, people and businesses feel welcome and invited

Uncategorized

What do you consider the right mix of residential and commercial support for the tax base of the City of Mequon?

Adams: This is a very difficult question to evaluate. Mequon is in an enviable position. We have not had the degradation of values other communities in the region have seen. We have avoided chasing after quick development projects that would have left us with heavier infrastructure costs, but not a solid tax base to support them. During my 21 years on the common council, we have had balanced budgets and surpluses. Those who say there is a problem are using scare tactics to get control of a working system. It, right now, is a great system that is working to protect the citizens and businesses of Mequon.

Some people may think there is a magic formula (“right mix” as stated in your question) of residential and commercial assessment we need to achieve. Many people think we already have the magic formula because of our low taxes, quality of life, great schools and number 1 rating in Movoto http://www.movoto.com/blog/top-ten/best-places-in-wisconsin/.

Our residential ratio is higher than many cities. Homes, located on the Milwaukee River, Lake Michigan and on large prestigious lots, will increase the residential portion of the tax base. That’s due to geography. If some of our same fine homes were in the more abundant, smaller lots in other cities, they would be valued less, creating a lower portion of residential valuation. One of the reasons our mix is higher toward residential is there are a lot of fine homes. Many homes, away from the amenities of the lake, the river, a wooded lot, would not be valued so highly. Some homes on these natural beauties were once cottages and are now residences. They weren’t built to be as highly coveted as they are now. The right mix is not a stagnant formula, but a dynamic rebalancing number which adjusts with the economy.

The right mix for me is one that keeps taxes low, streets safe, schools outstanding, controlled budgets which keep the need for new tax revenue at a minimum and keep our character, atmosphere and integrity.

Myers: The current balance of residential and commercial seems about right to me. That will allow commercial development in the areas zoned for it as residential development occurs. This will increase the tax base without damaging the sense of community and rural feel which exists in Mequon.

Uncategorized

There are four bodies in southern Ozaukee County that impact the residents of Mequon — City of Mequon, Village of Thiensville, Mequon-Thiensville School District and Mequon-Thiensville Chamber of Commerce. How can these four organizations best work together?

Myers:

By conducting regular meetings among the elected leaders and senior staff members of the four bodies.
By having the four bodies appoint task forces comprised of non-elected citizens to address issues and put forth ideas on which the four bodies may wish input.
Collaborate on sponsoring events focused toward building a sense of one community.

Adams: Well first of all there are far more than four bodies that impact Mequon. Don’t tell the Boy and Girl Scouts, they don’t influence Mequon, (Scout Park); don’t tell our churches and synagogues they don’t influence Mequon. Don’t tell our PTO they don’t influence Mequon. And don’t think that the voters in my district don’t have an impact.

Everyone can best work together with synergy, communication and respect when they focus on their areas of responsibility. The city is working with several groups right now to create some festivities and reasons for people to come together, to come here. The Chamber and hopefully their members will help promote, and we all win. It’s when we do our best in our areas of expertise that we can be better together.

Uncategorized

What do you consider to be the greatest assets of the community: the things that make Mequon a desirable place to live?

Adams: To each resident, that means something different.

To some, it’s our low tax base. A fine home in Mequon is more affordable adding to the quality of their lives. Mequon represents a superior housing value which has helped keep us insulated from the mortgage crisis.

For others, it’s our schools. How many times do you hear Shorewood has great schools, but they have high taxes? People move there anyway as schools are important. It’s very true for Mequon. Many families seek Mequon for its schools and who can blame them?

For others it’s the pastoral setting in nature, right on one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world, the eagles, the turkey, deer, fresh air, green space and minutes to downtown Milwaukee.

For me and others, it’s the community and my friends and neighbors. I’ve been here most of my life. It’s home.

Who can fault any of these reasons for living here?

Myers:

The overall quality of life with open spaces, excellent housing and a rural feel.
Excellent public and private schools.
Taxes that provide a good value for the services provided.
An educated and engaged citizenry which demands an excellent community.
Our low crime rate. We have one of the lowest crime rates in the state.
A major hospital located in the heart of the city and a number of medical clinics.
Opportunity for continued growth.

Uncategorized